Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Returning Officer Slams Executive in OUSA Election

Returning Officer Slams Executive in OUSA Election

Today's ruling by the OUSA (Otago University Students Association) Returning Officer, Simon Peart, has highlighted "an unconscionable conflict of interest", "wholly inappropriate and unfair" conduct and breaches of the OUSA constitution within the recent OUSA election vindicating Student Choice's concerns over OUSA’s conduct of the election.

"The recent executive election for the Otago University Students Association (OUSA), raises serious questions about the interference of the executive with the election process." says Student Choice Interim National Spokesperson Matthew Flannagan.

A formal complaint was laid against five members of the current executive who were seeking re-election when OUSA co-Woman’s Rights Officer, Megan Sellers, revealed to Student Choice that their campaigns were assisted by OUSA employees and other executive members, who also specifically campaigned against non-incumbent candidates.

Election rules prohibit OUSA’s endorsement of any candidates. In response to the complaint, the offending members of the executive defended their actions because the executive met prior to the close of elections, and changed OUSA’s election rules without telling the non-incumbent candidates.

In todays ruling, the returning officer has called the actions of the OUSA executive "wholly inappropriate and unfair." For executive officers who are standing for re-election to change the rules of the election without telling other candidates so that the executive can promote those candidates, said the returning officer, was "fundamentally illegitimate, contrary to all notions of due process and procedural propriety, and manifestly unfair," and contravened OUSA’s constitution.

That the executive did so resulted in "an unconscionable conflict of interest." The offence was only aggravated by the fact that the incumbent candidates who sought to change the rules did not notify either the other candidates or the returning officer, which Mr Flannagan says, demonstrates that the change of rules only enabled the incumbent candidates to do things that other candidates had agreed to abstain from when accepting their nominations.

The returning officer upheld the complaint, but said that a new election would not be called as the extent of the impact that these breaches of the rules had on the election outcome could not be determined to be significant enough.

Mr Flannagan said this another reason why students shouldn’t be forced to join student associations. It’s one thing to observe antics like this as a kind of unfortunate sideshow to university life, but for all students to be forced to fund and join organisations that carry on like this is unconscionable."

"Although shocking, this is really just an outworking of the philosophy behind compulsory membership. In compulsory student association membership, students can be compelled to fund causes that they themselves oppose. This is a stone’s throw from what we have here: some candidates in an electoral race have been forced to fund the campaigns of their opponents."

Student Choice Supports voluntary membership of student associations on the grounds of freedom of association.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>

ALSO:

Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Salt River Songs by Sam Hunt

Colin Hogg, a longtime comrade of Sam, writes in his Introduction that, ‘There is a lot of death in this collection of new poems by my friend Sam Hunt. It’s easier to count the poems here that don’t deal with the great destroyer than it is to point to the ones that do.’ More>>

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news